Tension filled the air.

The bittersweet smell of tears oozed into the darkness as another pungent odor tickled the nostrils.

It was the stench of blood.

"Are you alright… Maria?" Serah asked, a warm smile on her glowing face.

Her eyes felt weary, but she felt a genuine sense of happiness and fulfillment since she had just protected her protege from certain death.

But, at what cost?

"M-Master Serah… your legs!"

The protege she saved had her eyes widened as if they would pop out, with tears gushing out like a river. Her eyes were fixated on Serah's two legs which seemed to have been reduced to half their former size.

"Ah… these old things. They aren't important right now."

"N-no… for me, you… it's because of me…" Maria's sobs were stifled, but even she could not suppress the emotions she was experiencing at the moment.

After all, even though the whole thing had happened faster than she could perceive, she understood everything that led up to this present.

Serah was corrupted by Legris after being distracted by Maria's plight, and she had to amputate her legs before the corruption progressed any further.

As a result, everything from Sarah's knees and below were cut off.

"This isn't the time to whine, Maria. I could recover them later. Right now we have to focus on the present situation."

Serah was no expert at Healing Magic, but she had at least stopped the bleeding and sealed the wound. Even though she was currently at a disadvantage, it wasn't like hope was lost entirely.

Being distracted by grief would only further weaken them.

"You're right. I-I'm sorry I—"

"It's fine. You were shaken. It happens…" Serah murmured, her gaze now focusing on Legris.

"Still twenty of them, huh? It feels like I didn't even do anything…"

Even though Legris' variants remained the same number, Serah suddenly began to feel like they were one too many for her to handle by herself,

Her entire mode of combat relied on all parts of her body to secure the perfect coordination. With two legs gone, most of her combos and fight patterns would be out of sync,

Plus, she had lost two means in which she could attack, decreasing her effective offensive capabilities by half. Last but not least, the reach of her legs had also been reduced considerably, which meant her speed was also compromised.

Then, there was the latent fear that her hands could be next. It wasn't something Serah could control as it was purely instinctive.

That primal fear of losing… it was slowly creeping in on her.

Fortunately, her resolve to win still kept her afloat.

'I also have to protect Maria no matter what, and… ah, hold on…'

Serah realized something at that moment.

'Why did I risk my legs for her? Even if she died, could she not have been revived later on? She's currently a liability anyway, so would it not be best if she was taken off the board quicker?'

Logically speaking, there was no need to have lost her legs for such a situation.


'All of my instincts screamed at me to save her. Almost as if I would never see her again.'

It was an odd feeling, especially considering how Serah prided herself on being decisive in battle.

'I suppose the bond we share can't be underestimated.'

Emotions would always be an integral part of living beings. While it could serve as a person's greatest strength, it was also a weakness that could devolve into a lapse in judgment.

Serah suspected she must have fallen into the trap of the latter.

'I can't dwell on that now, though. Right now, we can only weather the storm.'

Serah glared at all twenty Legrises, bracing herself in the dark world that seemed to be closing in on her.

"Haha! Classic Serah move."

"You've always been soft despite trying so hard not to be."

"This is only the star… argh…"

The Legrises could not complete their taunting messages as they suddenly began to spasm, a strange sight for even Serah.

Slowly, the dark curtains that covered the world began to lift.

The swift corrosion that filled the entire landscape returned to its source, the Legris variants.

As soon as Serah took all of this in, she looked above her and a brief glimmer of hope reflected in her eyes.

"Now's our chance! Ascend upwards, Maria!"

"H-huh? Okay!"

While the variants seemed disoriented, absorbing the darkness that now appeared to stabilize them, Serah and Maria shot upwards, increasing their momentum with every second that passed.

Until finally…

"Can you feel it? The dimensional barrier?"


Serah smiled, charging up her energy while nodding at Maria to do the same.

"We are going to break through it and enter another dimension!"

"Really?!" Maria's eyes widened as she heard Serah's solution.

"We can't handle him on our own. Not in our current state. It's best we gather more allies and fight him together."

It was the most logical approach Serah could think of at the moment.

And since they had been presented with a golden opportunity, one where Legris was too distracted to get in their way, this was most likely going to be their only chance.


Maria gathered her Aether, creating a dense covering for herself so she could fight the tide of the surface tension that seemed to propel her back.

The fiery Aether around Serah burned brighter too, and she was able to swim against the dimensional tides that desired to keep them in the dimension.

"On the count of three, Maria!"

"Yes Master!"

The two women pushed past the stubborn forces around them, their eyes the epitome of determination.


The barrier that seemed ironclad began to crack.


Massive breaks spread through its invisible surface.



Like glass, the cracks spread to the far reaches of the space around them until it finally reached its limits.


The dimension shattered, leading the two victorious women into a new world that was devoid of Legris Damien.

A world another ally occupied!






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